Season 1 – Episode 6 – I Wish My Life Had a Soundtrack – Silent Movies




In this episode, we discuss classic silent movies, as well as a few surprisingly recent movies made with little or no sound. What are the advantages and drawbacks to making a silent movie, and why are they still being made today, complete with title cards and stop-action paper-mache monsters?


Time Stamp Guide:

01:41 The impetus for this conversation is the recent silent film, The Call of Cthulhu, directed by Andrew Leman in 2005. It was created in the style of a 1920’s silent film, with really basic special effects like a boat on a gimbal with dark sheets flapping to simulate waves.

04:15 Fun facts about blood effects in movies! In Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, a black and white movie, the blood for the famous shower scene was made using chocolate syrup. In The Shawshank Redemption, the sewage that Andy DuFresne crawls through was made of chocolate. After a brief debate, we decided that we would rather crawl through chocolate than actual garbage.

06:03 A brief introduction to the Harold Lloyd movies, like The Freshman (1925) and Safety Last (1923)

13:08 We discuss whether the 2018 movie A Quiet Place counts as a silent film since there is barely any dialogue. We also consider 2001: A Space Odyssey, since that also features montages with very few spoken lines. We dubbed these two movies “mostly-silent.”

17:49 Another “mostly-silent” movie is a 2009 movie called Moon, starring Sam Rockwell as a lone man at a space station. The 2013 movie Gravity is similar since it’s mostly Sandra Bullock floating untethered in the vast expanse of space.

20:16 Clare asks if there’s such a thing as a silent stage play. Hannah’s theater degree finally comes in handy as she shares Samuel Beckett’s Act Without Words, a depressing short play about a man trying and failing to hang himself.

21:59 The Artist, made in 2011, is a silent film about a silent film actor’s fall into obscurity after movies become “talking pictures.”

Additional Resources:

Article: “The gods of pulp-horror: H.P. Lovecraft and his religion.”

Video: “Building complete and warm survival shelter.”


Coming soon!